The growing markets of central and eastern Europe are opening up exciting new opportunities for Corus, the international steel company.

Over the past year, the wire rod business has doubled the volume of automotive component steels it supplies into the region and tripled its customer base in these emerging economies.

Consistent supplies of wire rod are now being delivered into Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia, where Corus has attracted a host of new customers in the past 12 months. A first batch of high-quality steel has also been sent into Russia, opening up a new supply route into a market that is expected to grow substantially in the coming years.

“We recognise the importance of these countries in the future of Europe, and we are delighted that our premium-quality steels and delivery capabilities are meeting the aspirations of rod processors in the area,” said sales manager, Grant McBain.

“There are some major car plants in the region and the market is growing strongly. We are supplying a range of automotive spring, machining and cold-heading steels. The rate of adoption of our steel here has been faster than we have seen anywhere else in the world, with sales last year up by almost 70%.”

Supporting this eastern expansion is the network of Corus offices across the region. There are now wire rod representatives working in Prague, Budapest, Kiev, Poland and Moscow.

“We have tried and proved our transport routes into the region,” added Grant. “Using unit loads by lorry enables us to maintain exceptional delivery condition from the UK, with minimal handling. This is essential for our sensitive, premium-grade steels.

“Through a collaboration with the University of Gent in Belgium, the wire rod business is also exploring optimum logistics routes into eastern Europe and beyond. We are working with academics and customers to develop supply-chain strategies that will enable us to offer UK levels of service and availability across Europe.”

Grant added: “We know we have the quality of product demanded by customers in the area, and we are building our cultural understanding through local offices. Now we are working to develop an optimum service package that will meet the market’s long-term needs.”